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The Effect of Immediacy of Expected Goal Feedback on Persistence in a Physical Task

Christopher P. Gunn, Chris Englert, Fabienne Ennigkeit, and Ian M. Taylor

Minimizing the temporal gap between behavior and reward enhances persistence, but the effect of other outcomes is unknown. Two concurrently run studies aimed to investigate whether persistence on a physical task would be influenced according to whether participants expected immediate versus delayed goal feedback. Furthermore, whether this effect occurs via intrinsic motivation (Studies 1 and 2) or delaying the desire–goal conflict (Study 2) was examined. Using a counterbalanced within-person design, 34 participants in each study (Study 1: 16 males, 18 females; Study 2: 15 males, 19 females) completed two wall-sit persistence tasks, one with immediate feedback expected (regarding the participant’s position on a leader board) and the other with feedback expected to be provided 1 week later. A two-way mixed analysis of variance found no significant differences in persistence between conditions in either study. Furthermore, no indirect effects were found via intrinsic motivation or delayed desire–goal conflict. Study findings did not support the hypothesis that the timing of expected feedback enhances persistence.

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Volume 44 (2022): Issue 6 (Dec 2022)

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Lifetime Stressor Exposure and Psychophysiological Reactivity and Habituation to Repeated Acute Social Stressors

Ella McLoughlin, Rachel Arnold, Paul Freeman, James E. Turner, Gareth A. Roberts, David Fletcher, George M. Slavich, and Lee J. Moore

This study addressed whether lifetime stressor exposure was associated with psychophysiological reactivity and habituation to a novel laboratory-based stressor. Eighty-six participants (M age = 23.31 years, SD = 4.94) reported their exposure to lifetime non-sport and sport-specific stressors before completing two consecutive trials of the Trier Social Stress Test, while cardiovascular (i.e., heart rate) and endocrine (i.e., salivary cortisol) data were recorded. Exposure to a moderate number of lifetime non-sport and sport-specific stressors was associated with adaptive cardiovascular reactivity, whereas very low or very high stressor exposure was related to maladaptive reactivity. Moreover, experiencing a very low number of lifetime non-sport (but not sport-specific) stressors was associated with poorer habituation. In contrast, lifetime stressor severity was unrelated to cardiovascular reactivity. Finally, greater lifetime non-sport and sport-specific stressor counts were associated with blunted cortisol reactivity and poorer habituation. These results suggest that lifetime stressor exposure may influence sport performers’ acute stress responses.

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Neither Too Easy Nor Too Difficult: Effects of Different Success Criteria on Motor Skill Acquisition in Children

Seyyed Mohammadreza Mousavi, Jalal Dehghanizade, and Takehiro Iwatsuki

The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of different success criteria on motor learning in children. Forty-eight children threw soft-golf balls toward a circular target using their nondominant arm. On Day 1, they performed six blocks of 12 trials from 5.5 m. On Day 3, they performed a 12-trial retention test followed by a 12-trial transfer test. Participants were randomly assigned to one of four groups: difficult criteria for success, relatively easy criteria for success (RES), easy criteria for success, and control. Results demonstrated that there was a significant difference between the RES and control groups in their throwing accuracy on the retention and transfer tests, and the RES group had the highest score compared with the other two groups. This research suggests that providing relatively easy criteria facilitates motor skill acquisition in children.

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Jeff Caron, Alyson Crozier, Alison Ede, Matt Hoffman, Christopher Hill, Sean Locke, Desi McEwan, Kathleen Mellano, Eva Pila, Matthew Stork, and Svenja Wolf

Edited by Kim Gammage

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Is It Really Worth the Effort? Examining the Effects of Mental Fatigue on Physical Activity Effort Discounting

Sheereen Harris, Paul Stratford, and Steven R. Bray

Physical activity (PA) guidelines are informed by epidemiological evidence but do not account for people’s motivation for exerting physical effort. Previous research has shown that people are less motivated to engage in moderate- to vigorous-intensity PA when fatigued. In a two-study series, we investigated how intensity and duration affected people’s willingness to engage in PA using an effort-discounting paradigm. A secondary purpose was to examine whether effort discounting was affected by mental fatigue. Both studies revealed a significant Intensity × Duration interaction demonstrating a reduced willingness to engage in PA of higher intensities across increasing duration levels. Study 1 demonstrated greater effort discounting for vigorous-intensity PA with increasing mental fatigue; however, this effect was not observed in Study 2. Findings provide novel insight toward people’s motivation for engaging in PA based on the properties of the task, and some evidence suggesting feelings of fatigue may also influence motivation to exert physical effort.

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What Influences Children’s Physical Activity? Investigating the Effects of Physical Self-Concept, Physical Self-Guides, Self-Efficacy, and Motivation

Lena Henning, Dennis Dreiskämper, Hannah Pauly, Steffen Filz, and Maike Tietjens

Physical fitness self-concept (PFSC) is an important predictor of motivation and physical activity in children. Recent studies revealed that not only PFSC but also its interplay with perceptions of one’s ideal and ought physical fitness self are related to motivation and physical activity. As the meaning of ideal and ought selves in children is yet unclear, this study aimed to investigate how PFSC, ideal physical fitness self, and ought physical fitness self are related to children’s motivation and physical activity. Six hundred forty-five children (M age = 8.87 years) filled out questionnaires twice with an interval of approximately 8 months. Polynomial regression with response surface analyses and mediation analyses was conducted. Results showed that PFSC, rather than ideal and ought self-perceptions, is associated with autonomous motivation, self-efficacy, and physical activity. The relationship between PFSC and physical activity was mediated by self-efficacy. Findings indicate that physical activity promotion programs should include PFSC and self-efficacy enhancement in childhood.

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Volume 44 (2022): Issue 5 (Oct 2022)

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Kim Gammage, Jeff Caron, Alyson Crozier, Alison Ede, Matt Hoffman, Christopher Hill, Sean Locke, Desi McEwan, Kathleen Mellano, Eva Pila, Matthew Stork, and Svenja Wolf

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Neural Activity During Imagery Supports Three Imagery Abilities as Measured by the Movement Imagery Questionnaire-3

Brian D. Seiler, Eva V. Monsma, Roger Newman-Norlund, and Ryan Sacko

Self-report and neural data were examined in 14 right-handed college-age males screened from a pool of 200 to verify neural activity during imagery and that the neural activity (area of brain) varies as a function of the imagery type. Functional magnetic resonance imaging data collected during real-time imagery of the three Movement Imagery Questionnaire-3 abilities indicated frontal areas, motor areas, and cerebellum active during kinesthetic imagery, motor areas, and superior parietal lobule during internal visual imagery, and parietal lobule and occipital cortex during external visual imagery. Central and imagery-specific neural patterns were found providing further biological validation of kinesthetic, internal visual, and external visual complementing results on females. Next, research should (a) compare neural activity between male participants screened by self-reported imagery abilities to determine if good imagers have more efficient neural networks than poor imagers and (b) determine if there is a statistical link between participants’ neural activity during imagery and self-report Movement Imagery Questionnaire-3 scores.